Understanding the decision-making of smallholder households in low-income countries is a crucial step in the design of effective policy measures for development. This task is becoming increasingly complicated as more and more factors (e.g. urbanization, climate change) influence rural transformation processes. Economic research normally singles out individual mechanisms (e.g. income composition) and spatial variability thereof is represented by access to the most important economic center in a region. However, trade-offs between multiple decision factors can lead to complex spatial patterns in livelihoods, often further complicated by multiple accessible economic centers. RTSC proposes an innovative and interdisciplinary framework to capture such complex patterns by modeling decision-making based on the location of a household in two-dimensional space. This framework includes key features such as the development of a microeconomic model of location-dependent trade-offs in household decision-making, the application of advanced statistical techniques to capture them in an empirical analysis based on primary data from Myanmar, and the vision to use RTSC results for evidence-based policy design.
Planned as a Global Fellowship, RTSC brings together UGOE, a leading European university in agricultural development economics, and IFPRI, an international key player in providing research-based policy support on matters such as poverty reduction and food security. These host institutions complement each other perfectly providing state-of-the-art expertise in applied economic research and policy support. These conditions can be used effectively by the experienced researcher (ER), as she brings skills in household modeling, fieldwork, and advanced statistical methods. RTSC will, thus, allow her to develop as an independent researcher by refining her research portfolio, acquiring skills in project management, and extending her professional network.
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